Monday, 29 November 2010

Winter on Carningli

This unseasonal weather may be a bit of a drag, but it does give one the opportunity for wandering about on the mountain in the snow -- and with crisp powdery snow underfoot, clear skies and no wind, conditions have been perfect for these last 2 days.  Actually, it's not unseasonal at all -- when we lived in County Durham, winter always kicked in with the first snowfall in the week of my wife's birthday (23rd November).    We had a few days of inconvenience (and often snowdrifts on the Burnhope Road between Stanley and Durham) and then it almost always got warmer again and stayed warmish into the new year, to be followed by a more serious and extended cold snap in January - February.  It will be interesting to see if this "classic" winter scenario is followed this year as well.

Anyway, I was up on the mountain yesterday with a nice thermos flask of cocoa.  I settled down behind a snow-covered boulder for my refreshment break, and it was fantastic....

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Boz gets his prize

This is a photo from the launch of the new children's book called "The Strange Affair of the Ethiopian Treasure Chest."  It was held on Sat 13th Nov in the National Park Info Centre, Newport.  In the picture I'm handing Boz his cheque -- well deserved, as his competition entry was clearly better than any of the others.    It was the first time Boz has worked on illustrations for a children's book -- here's to a long and successful career for him!

Thursday, 11 November 2010

The Christmas push

Been out on my first delivery run with the new book today -- a good supply of the new children's book delivered to the Welsh Books Council depot in Aberystwyth, and a top-up of the other titles as well.  Over the next few days I need to visit the outlets in West Wales as well, to make sure that have enough stock to cope with the Christmas rush..........  well, one has to be optimistic, doesn't one?

And thank God for the WBC -- without them many small publishers in Wales would find it very difficult to maintain a reasonable level of sales, with no big advertising budgets and no reps on the road.    I have my own network of trade outlets in Pembrokeshire which I manage to service reasonably well, but through the rest of Wales there is no way that I could cover the territory. 

So here's hoping that some people will have seen my adverts and my press coverage, and will set out on their shopping trips with the firm intent to buy "The Strange Affair of the Ethiopian Treasure Chest" fort all of their children and grandchildren, and full sets of the Angel Mountain Saga while they are about it.....

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Delivered safe and sound

Got 23 boxes of kid's books today -- now for the hard work of getting review copies out and about, and encouraging people to BUY them..........

Kid's book on schedule

It's not often that one gets to thank a printer in a public place, but here I have to acknowledge the great work of CPI Antony Rowe of Chippenham.  They have been printing books for me for years, and this time (on an admittedly small book) they have turned around a book and gone through the whole production process (PDFs received to doorstep delivery) in a fortnight.  On 20th Oct entries closed for the "children's book illustration" competition -- and at that time I had no illustrator and no printer (apart from a few quotes).    By Monday 25th Oct I had decided which illustrator to use (Boz Groden), had adapted the illustrations for use in the book, and had completed the book design.  At the same time my clever son Martin designed the cover on Photoshop (incorporating Boz's splendid artwork).  I worked out a final price with CPI Antony Rowe, got an assurance that they could print and deliver quickly, and got the PDFs off to them.  That was all sorted two weeks ago -- today I get delivery of 2,000 copies.

Ah -- the joys of being a small publisher!!  It's actually a multi-faceted business, and doing everything in-house can be stressful but is, on the whole, very creative and rewarding.  I can do in two weeks what the big publishers would probably take 18 months to do -- I am always staggered by their enormously long lead-times.  Of course, they use those long lead times to embark on advance publicity in the book trade -- but that is for the most part half-hearted and ineffective, except in the case of the blockbusters which get the full works. 

Now all that is needed is for kids and their parents and grandparents to like the book.....  the launch is on schedule for next Saturday (13th Nov) in the National Park Information Centre in Newport Pembs.

Friday, 5 November 2010

Angel Mountain Gift Packs

I've been making up the last few gift packs for distribution to the trade in time for Christmas.  The gift pack idea was a bit of an experiment (£39.99 for six novels, in a nice box) and I ordered 100 boxes for it -- but now all 100 boxes have gone, presumed sold!  And since that first delivery, "Sacrifice" has appeared.  That means 7 novels, with one having to be added loose every time somebody buys a pack.  So the new packs will have all 7 novels in them, with Sacrifice having pride of place in the middle.  Much more sensible.  Watch this space.